Human Brain Responses to Media

Goals

Provide information on physiological human brain responses to various types of information inputs, including reading a book, email, social media, reading online news vs. reading a newspaper, watching TV, and watching movies

Early Findings

Social Media

  • Dopamine is released whenever someone receives a social media notification.
  • This chemical release creates a reward pathway, which creates a hook to the stimulus, which is why people are constantly distracted by their phones.

Television

  • TV is linked to a decreased ability to think critically, as when watching TV brain activity switches from the logical and critical left side to the right side, which uses only emotional response.

Reading

Email

  • Checking e-mail is linked with increased stress levels, and the activation of parts of the brain associated with fear and anxiety (amygdala).
  • The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that makes rational choices and reasons logically is also weakened when email increases our stress level.

Proposed next steps:

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